In Ivory Coast 31.3% of children aged 5-17 years carry out activities that classify as child labour. Over a fifth of child labourers work in dangerous conditions. Data show that all geographical areas of Ivory Coast are affected by child labour. However, the prevalence of child labour remains highest in the northwest (36.9%), north (36.4%), northeast (28.6%) and west (26.3%).
In Ivory Coast, nearly 50% of the population lives below the national poverty line and live in rural, agriculture-based communities. The country ranks low in the Human Development Index: 171 out of 188 countries. The retention, completion and quality of education poses challenges. Access to pre-school education is extremely limited.
Where do we work
We work in 100 geographic areas in selected villages in three regions: San Pedro, Soubre, Meagui (in the Southwest) Korhogo (in the North) and Abidjan (in the South). The geographic areas have been selected based on child labour prevalence, population density, and the presence of economic sectors targeted (cocoa, mining, domestic work).
To give children the chance to enroll back into school, WNCB partner Save the Children offers Bridging Classes. These special classes, which take place in regular schools, give children who’ve been out of school for a long period, the chance to get to the education level that fits their age. The bridging class is a way to fill the gap and prepares the child for regular, formal school classes and hopefully a bright future.
The story of Sarah
Sarah belongs to a family of six brothers and four sisters. Even though she is very bright, she never had access to school. From a very young age, she was working in the fields with her parents, doing hard work. Not going to school resulted made her sad and rebellious.
Aside from her poor diet and difficulties accessing health care services, Sarah’s biggest problem was realizing that her future would be being a housewife, locked in a rural environment devoid of any social and health infrastructures.
When Save the Children set up bridging classes in her community, and Sarah enrolled into a bridging class. In doing so, caught up on years’ worth of schooling. Since then, Sarah has completed the bridging class program and is now enrolled into a formal school.
Sarah now has the chance, like other children of her age, to escape working in the cacao fields and pursue another future, other dreams, which in her case is that of becoming a midwife one day, to take care of pregnant women and give life to children.